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Article

A Study of the Minimum Thermal Power of a Nuclear Reactor

School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
Academic Editor: Dan Gabriel Cacuci
J. Nucl. Eng. 2021, 2(4), 412-421; https://doi.org/10.3390/jne2040031
Received: 15 September 2021 / Revised: 12 October 2021 / Accepted: 13 October 2021 / Published: 20 October 2021
The minimum mass for a critical reactor is well studied whereas the minimum heat production from a nuclear reactor has received little attention. The thermal power of a (sub)critical reactor originates from fission as well as radioactive decay. Fission includes neutron-induced and spontaneous fission. For an idealized critical core, we find that the minimum theoretical power is ER/Λ, whereas for a subcritical reactor comprising fissionable material undergoing spontaneous fission, the minimum power is dictated by subcritical multiplication. Interestingly, radioisotopic heat generation exceeds the minimum theoretical fission power for most of the fissile materials examined in this study. View Full-Text
Keywords: radioisotopic heat production; specific power; spontaneous fission; subcritical multiplication radioisotopic heat production; specific power; spontaneous fission; subcritical multiplication
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MDPI and ACS Style

Holbert, K.E. A Study of the Minimum Thermal Power of a Nuclear Reactor. J. Nucl. Eng. 2021, 2, 412-421. https://doi.org/10.3390/jne2040031

AMA Style

Holbert KE. A Study of the Minimum Thermal Power of a Nuclear Reactor. Journal of Nuclear Engineering. 2021; 2(4):412-421. https://doi.org/10.3390/jne2040031

Chicago/Turabian Style

Holbert, Keith E. 2021. "A Study of the Minimum Thermal Power of a Nuclear Reactor" Journal of Nuclear Engineering 2, no. 4: 412-421. https://doi.org/10.3390/jne2040031

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